Bliss A drawing with Luminance and Holbein pencils with some Caran d'Ache Neopastels. 410 x 510 mm. May 2015.

A drawing with Luminance and Holbein pencils plus some Caran d’Ache Neopastels on Velin BFK Rives paper.
410 x 510 mm. May 2015.

Matthew came up with the word “Bliss” when we were discussing my latest drawing.   I pounced on it – as a perfect title.  What could “Bliss” be referring to?  Perhaps marital bliss or the artist’s bliss (at witnessing and then drawing this scene).  Or it could be the benevolent smile of the onlooker as she walks near the bride, or the bride’s rapture at wearing such an outfit and being the centre of attention.

It was good fortune which allowed me to capture the source photo in Gion, Kyoto.  I’m sure I didn’t even see the young woman in the coat and boots pushing the stroller or her encouraging smile to the bride.  I was trying to capture the bride before she folded down her janome (oiled parasol) and moved on.  I only had seconds to spare as I was one of the many photographers following the erikae walk of Satsuki-san.  Photographing the bride was a rushed detour from my main path.

The outfit our bride wears is called an iro-uchikake.  It is a splendid robe which is worn over the white bridal kimono.   I adored drawing its exotic bright patterns and made every stroke reverentially.  Iro-uchikake are so expensive that brides merely hire them for the day and even then it is a huge cost.

This was my first drawing on Velin BFK Rives paper after 14 years of using only Magnani Pescia.  During my first tentative pencil marks I felt like the bride – unsure of the new reality.  But some time into the drawing I became more confident, as if I was now the young mother in the composition.   Most certainly it feels different layering pencil on BFK Rives than on Pescia. Would I use BFK Rives again? Yes.  The paper encourages the colours to sing out, perhaps even more than Pescia.  It takes some adjusting to, and persevering with – come to think of it – as does marriage.

Note:  I am showing the photo I worked from (below) so that you can see how I edited out the groom.  The shape of his janome did not add to the quality of the composition – in fact it subtracted from it.  Better if I took him out completely.

My source photo for "Bliss"

My source photo for “Bliss”

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14 thoughts on “Bliss

  1. sylvie

    Wonderful job Julie ! I’ll give the BFK rives a try sometimes as it is available in France.Here it is a paper initially meant for engraving but dry pastels artists use it too.

  2. Robyn Varpins

    The woman with the pram is looking back to when she was a bride, and her grin suggests a sweet memory. The bride is an “ideal” in her other worldly colours…she shines.

  3. occasionalartist

    Fabulous Julie, the detail in the outfit is amazing. You find such interesting compositions, I like these ones where the old and new cultures combine. I did chuckle that you got rid of the groom, artists are so ruthless in the pursuit of great composition, though I agree with you and would have chucked him out too. Karen

  4. anna warren portfolio

    Another lovely composition – the balance between the muted block colours of the girl in Western clothing and the fabulously attired bride is perfect. There is a tension between the two – even though we can’t see the bride’s face, I’m sure she would be responding to the encouraging smile from the young mum. This could be her in the near future. The iro-uchikake is truly a fabulous garment. The BFK really does make the colours sing.

    1. juliepodstolski Post author

      Anna – welcome home. I’m looking at this piece today to encourage me not to be down-in-the-mouth about papers. I’ve got some BFK Rives coming from Victoria. I sure hope it arrives without dings and creases because the supply in my local art shop is woefully dinged up. The fact that BFK makes the colours sing is a big plus and I’m sure I’ll do more work with this paper.


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